I'm Not Anti-Mask, I Am Anti-Government
We are going to have to make some assumptions regarding my next statements because I am not sure anyone knows what is valid or true, or to what extent, when it comes to the COVID-19 virus.
Presumably, this virus is transmitted through droplets, like many viruses, and can enter the body through the nose, mouth, eyes, etc. It is possible that it exists on surfaces, but evidence varies on for how long. Exposure to these droplets or contaminated surfaces could cause infection, leading to illness from the virus.
Hence, many cities, counties and states are requiring people to wear a mask while in public places. In Texas, in all counties with more than 20 confirmed cases, people are required to wear a mask.
The efficacy of masks is debated but here is the common understanding. My mask protects you, your mask protects me. If I am unmasked, and you are masked, and I walk past you and sneeze, those droplets then can enter your body - even if the mask is 100% effective - through your eyes or ears, etc. In reverse, if I pass you while I am masked, and you stop to speak to me, droplets in your spittle could then enter my body through my eyes, or those droplets could reach my hand or some surface, which I later touch, get contaminated with and, as I am wont to do, adjust my contact lens and bam, now I am infected.
So, it is not that I disagree with masks. Some evidence exists that masking has prevented the spread of flus and other viruses in other countries. Similar to "cover your mouth when you cough," the mask does not 100% stop the spread of germs but it prevents some of it.
There is conflicting evidence over how contagious COVID-19 is as well. I know people who have lived with someone who had it and did not become infected themselves. While Texas has a seemingly enormous number of cases in terms of raw numbers, percentage wise compared to the population, the infection rate is still pretty low, and the death rate lower.
People have become incredibly sick and some have died, and to the families and communities with those losses, it is heartbreaking. And I am sure it is, for those people, very offensive to see others dismiss this virus as nothing to worry about. On the other hand, if you look at year over year fatalities due to the seasonal flu, you will see that every single year we lose quite a lot of people in this country to that virus. Unfortunately, some people cannot fight the virus. Some people have compromised immunity, and must take additional precautions. I will say this, if I had an underlying issue that made this very dangerous,I would not trust masking. I would stay home.
But my issue is not with the masks. It is not with how potent this virus is and it's not that I dismiss the fact that some people become critically or even fatally ill.
My issue is that the government has no right to force this upon me.
Private businesses, yes. If a business wants to require a mask, then that is their choice. If my friend wants to tell me they won't let me socialize with them without a mask, then that is their right. And in both cases, I can choose to either comply or not participate. But the government forcing masks and then fining us if we violate those rules - that is excessive.
It is especially excessive when there is no solid evidence to lean on. How contagious is this virus really? Considering the vast majority will have a mild version of it, and the likelihood of death remains extremely low, should we be shutting down the economy or forcing masks? And to what end? To wait for a vaccine that some experts say will never come because they have been trying to create a SARS vaccine for years with no success due to the mutations the virus takes? And evidence is mounting that immunity does not last for those who had been infected. So will a vaccine even work?
I still go to the gym. There have been two positive cases present in my gym while I was there, and I still go. My gym mandates masks during all times except while actively exercising, and I still go. In every case here, I am freely making a choice about my behavior. This should be between me and the gym, not a government mandate.
And I keep asking myself (and others) to what end? This will not be soon resolved. In the meantime, evidence mounts that people are missing critical medical care because of this virus, missing dialysis, cardiologist appointments, appointments with therapists, etc because of fear of exposure. There is evidence that people are giving way to their addictions and depression, that stress and anxiety is up and so are heart attacks and strokes. The cost of COVID-19 is not just measured in cases of illness and death from that virus, but what prevention has done to other areas of our health and our economy, our freedom and our way of life.
I just feel like the constitution of the United States precludes this vast overreach by the government. It has nothing at all to do with the mask itself. If the government can use a public health issue to mandate us and take our rights then none of our rights are ever going to be safe.